I always love champagne. I never fly without a double Jack Daniels - or two - in me. A classic gin martini always satisfies. A gin and tonic always refreshes. I adore Drambuie and Grand Marnier straight up. Give me a good scotch and rocks anytime. Reds - sangiovese, merlot, pinot noir, chambourcin, cab franc, rioja, beaujolais nouveau. Whites - pinot grigio, viognier, chard aged in steel, guwurtztraminer. A good cold beer on a hot summer day - especially with pizza, barbecue, hot dogs or burgers. A good hearty stout on a cold winter's day. A well made daquari. A well tequilaed margarita. Hell, just a few shots of tequila. And, I love pina coladas.
I really wish I could:
My "Go-to" dinner party dish:
A platter of warm goat cheese studded with fresh rosemary, chiffonade basil and mint, fresh thyme, a bit of orange zest and black pepper, drizzled with olive oil and served with toasted baguette slices
My favorite comfort food:
Being raised by my grandmother in Georgia, most of my favorite comfort foods come from that upbringing and the homecooked meals she prepared almost daily. I love biscuits, slathered with butter or stuffed with country ham. A good piece of fried chicken - crisp exterior and a multitude of juices flowing from the first bite. Peanut butter cookies rich and dense with the checkboard impression of fork tines atop. Rice pudding chilled and with just a hint of cinnamon. I can't replicate the exact tastes that came from her kitchen decades ago, but still I crave reasonable substitutes and when those aren't available, I just close my eyes and remember.
My top 5 favorite restaurants:
Since I am food editor of Hampton Roads Magazine, I won't say my favorites in this region (Nofolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News-Williamsburg, Va.) --- we list our Platinum Plates (Top 50) each January in my magazine (www.hamptonroadsmagazine.com). --- But, I will say my Top 5 outside this region: (1) Lantern - Chapel Hill, N.C. (2) Commander's Place - New Orleans, La. (3) Allen & Son Barbecue - Chapel Hill, N.C. (4) The Varsity - Atlanta, Ga. (5) Napoleon House - New Orleans, La.
My most tattered cookbooks:
I am not sure about tattered, as I love to collect cookbooks and books on food in general, but my most treasured cookbooks and food-related books are those that I have had autographed by the chefs/authors, including some who are friends of mine: John Shields, Marcel Desaulniers, John T. Edge, Richard Graussman; also Martha Stewart, Duncan Hines.